October 19, 2017

Archives for March 2016

Tri-Town Youth Services Collects Diapers for Mothers in Need

tri town ysb

REGION 4 – Tri-Town Youth Services kicks off Diaper Drive for mothers in need. The agency is working with preschools in Region 4 to collect diapers from May 9 to May 31.  Diapers can be dropped off at Tri-Town, 56 High Street, Deep River, weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Collection boxes are also located at KinderCare in Essex; Schoolmates in Ivoryton; CDE Nursery School in Deep River; and Circle of Friends Montessori in Chester.

An adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 per month, which is not feasible for some low-income families in our area. Babies are at risk of spending a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health risks.

Collected diapers will be donated to the Diaper Bank for distribution to families in need throughout Middlesex County. The Diaper Bank ensures that families living in poverty have an adequate supply of diapers for their infants and toddlers.  Their greatest needs are diapers in sizes 5 and 6.

Share

Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries Spring Appeal Welcomes Your Donations Year-Round

Volunteers at SSKP Old Saybrook Pantry.

Volunteers at SSKP Old Saybrook Pantry

AREAWIDE – “The food pantry changed my life. It made me believe again that God exists.” These words were recently written by a local resident, according to Patty Dowling, executive director of Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

“In January one of our guests wrote this very heartfelt message. We asked her if we could share it with the community, so they could understand how much the pantry means to her and her family, and she said yes.”

For 27 years the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) has been providing groceries through five weekly pantry distributions and offering daily hot meals at eight local meal sites, providing help to over 8,000 residents last year. The towns served by SSKP are Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Lyme, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

One out of ten coming to an SSKP pantry are seniors, many on a fixed income; others are disabled or suffering from physical or mental illness. Many are employed, but with wages too low to be self-sufficient. Over half of the pantry registrants last year were families of four or more, and 35 percent were children or teens.

According to Dowling, the number of those coming for help has risen steadily over the years. “Last year, for the first time, we distributed food for over 1 million meals,” she explained. “Recent data indicates a complicated economic and demographic future for many living on the shoreline.

“But despite these increases,” she added, “our shoreline community responds to the need. When we reach out for support to provide food and fellowship, so many have answered abundantly. To respond best to the current needs, and to prepare for what may be greater need, we are launching a new annual Spring Appeal.  We’re also contacting private foundations and corporate supporters.”

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries receives no direct state or federal funding, and operates with the support of 900 volunteers in partnership with local faith communities.

“We will continue to provide all who register at an SSKP pantry free groceries every week for everyone in their household, and a daily hot meal to those who attend our meal sites,” said Dowling. “Thank you for caring, and know your support gives your neighbors hope. They believe that someone has their back on their most difficult days, and they can see the presence of God in their lives.”

The SSKP Spring Appeal will be held through May 31. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 804, Essex, CT 06426 or online at www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

Share

A la Carte: Ricotta Cheese Pie

2013-04-05-springform-pan-pouringcheesecake_580This was an odd Easter weekend for me. On Good Friday, I picked up my daughter-in-law Nancy and second-youngest granddaughter Casey in Newbury, Massachusetts, then drove up to Kennebunkport Inn.

It all began with an e-mail from the beautiful hotel in Maine. It is less expensive to spend a day or two there in the late fall, winter and early spring, but the advertisement said it would be even less so for March and April, with a special discount of 29 percent. Hmmm, it was time to visit my cousins from Portland (she a breeder of Corgis, he a retired AP reporter). Perhaps a Friday night dinner at Fore Street (one of the many in Portland) and a visit with cousins Adrienne and Jerry. So I called Nancy, and asked if it was time for a road trip. (Our last had been last year in Boston to see a Bette Midler concert and an overnight stay in a boutique hotel in walking distance from the concert.) She was game and said, since it was a school holiday for Casey, could she come too? What a treat I said. She is a high school sophomore and great company.

I called the Kennebunkport Inn, doubting there would be rooms available, but we got one big room with two double beds and a twin for Friday and Saturday. Not only that, I got a reservation for us at Fore Street on Friday night. By the way, Nancy and Casey are Greek; my cousins are Jewish, as am I; so we celebrate Greek Easter and Passover (which isn’t a Jewish Easter but a spring kind-of festival) later this spring.

In any case, I didn’t make Easter dinner for anyone and, hopefully, I will be invited to Greek Easter. Here is what I will make. It is a luscious dessert that everyone loves.

Ricotta Cheese Pie

For the filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
1 cup cream
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crust:
1 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar (no sugar if using cookie crumbs)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (or chocolate wafer cookie or vanilla wafer crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of heavy aluminum foil.

To make the crust, in a bowl combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter (this can be done in the food processor). Press crumbs evenly over bottom of pan, saving a few for the top. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make the cheesecake filling, in your food processor or electric mixer, mix ricotta, cream and sugar until well blended and smooth. Beat in flour and salt; then add eggs, one at a time, processing or beating until incorporated. Finally, add vanilla extract and cinnamon and process until incorporated. Pour into prepared crust and dust top with crumbs. Take care not to overmix.

Bake about 50 to 60 minutes, or until cheesecake is set, yet moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the edges of the cheesecake will have some browning). Remove from water bath and cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.


Nibbles: Perk on Main

A couple of weeks ago, I judged the 14th Annual Chocolate to the Rescue. For the past few years, the fundraiser benefits the Middlesex Family Shelter and, according to John Roberts, executive director, I have judged each year since its inception.

As always, the chocolate was delicious. I am not sure who won but the chocolate seems to get better and better every year. My favorite this year was from Perk on Main, primarily because it was warm crepes folded around warm chocolate, raspberries and blueberries. Even better, it is a café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in two different locations: 6 Main Street in Durham and 20 Church Street in Guilford. And if that were not enough, there is Perk on Wheels. Check out www.perkonmain.com.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 

Share

Registration Opens for Madhatters Summer Theater Programs for Ages 6-18

AREAWIDE – Madhatters Theatre Company is currently accepting registration for its youth summer theater programs at Chester Meeting House.

The junior program, open to ages 6-12 years, will be “The Little Rascals, The Musical.” The program runs Monday through Friday, July 25 through July 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a performance on Friday.

The senior program, open to ages 13-18 years, is “The Roaring 20’s Musical.” The program runs Monday through Friday, Aug. 1 – 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a performance on Friday.

For further information and/or to register, e-mail: madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861. Information is also available at www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany.

The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty Street in Chester.

Share

Registration Now Open for High Hopes Summer Equestrian Camp for Ages 3-12

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding’s summer camp in Old Lyme begins July 11 for children ages 3 to 12. No previous riding experience is needed.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding’s summer camp in Old Lyme begins July 11 for children ages 3 to 12. No previous riding experience is needed.

OLD LYME – High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Inc., is once again hosting a youth equestrian summer camp for area children ages 3 to 12, on its beautiful 120-acre campus in Old Lyme. High Hopes offers summer campers equine-related educational opportunities in partnership with its herd of more than 20 horses and ponies. Each camp session is designed to meet the needs of participant groups by age and/or riding skill level, and offers children diverse equine-based activities conducted by a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

Campers build and/or develop horsemanship skills both on and off the horse by grooming and tacking their horse each morning in addition to a daily riding lesson. Other activities include gymnastics on horseback, carriage driving, inclusive team-building games and equine arts and crafts. No previous riding experience is necessary. During the school year, High Hopes provides therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities for people with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities.

Four weekly sessions are scheduled beginning the week of July 11. Each session is limited to 16 participants and is Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration deadline is June 10. Contact Carrina Echeandia, cecheandia@highhopestr.org, 860-434-1974 ext. 118 for more information.

Editor’s note: High Hopes is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States, operating since 1974 and accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl.) since 1979. High Hopes is committed to providing the highest quality service to all who might benefit, regardless of their financial means.  www.highhopestr.org

 

Share

Area Residents Pack Dick Smith Funeral Service at Chester Church

_NBL6817-3

St. Joseph RC Church, Chester, where hundreds of area residents turned out to participate in the funeral service for the late, longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith.

CHESTER — St. Joseph RC Church was packed Thursday as hundreds of area residents turned out to participate in the funeral service for the late, longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith.

The mass of Christian burial followed a three-hour wake and viewing Tuesday evening at Deep River Town Hall where more than 1,000 citizens turned out to file through the second floor auditorium to pay final respects to Smith, who died suddenly on March 25 at age 65. Smith, a Democrat first elected in 1989, was the longest serving chief elected official in Middlesex County, and one of the longest serving municipal elected leaders in the entire state.

Representatives of various organizations, including the police and Deep River Fife & Drum Corps., stand somberly outside Chester RC Church prior to the funeral service for Richard "Smitty" Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Representatives of various organizations, including the police and Deep River Fife & Drum Corps., stand somberly outside Chester RC Church prior to the funeral service for Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

The hour-long service had much of the pageantry of a state funeral, with a squad of Connecticut state troopers in full dress uniform and a police bagpiper, along with dozens of uniformed volunteer firefighters with the large ladder trucks from both the Deep River and Essex volunteer fire departments. Smith had also served as a part-time town police officer since 1973.

The sad task of removing the coffin from the hearse.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

The sad task of removing the coffin from the hearse. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Present were many of the current selectmen from area towns, but the crowd also included former first selectmen from towns such as Essex, Killingworth, and Old Lyme, who worked with Smith on regional issues during his long 26-year tenure. Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman was one of the speakers, describing Smith as a “cheerleader for economic development and a relentless advocate for small towns.” Wyman said Smith’s legacy would be, “Serve your community proudly.”

flag_outside_church

Photo by Kim Tyler

Grieving town hall employees filled the front seats of the church, with Tax Collector Lisa Bibbiani and selectmen’s assistant Gina Sopneski speaking about their fond memories of Smith. Bibbiani said Smith was an elected leader, who was always “approachable to everyone,” adding, “Dick Smith was sincere, he was honest, he was loyal, and he was funny.”

After the service, with the bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace,” Smith was laid to rest in a plot at the cemetery that is part of the church property on Rte. 154.

 

Dick_smith_NBL6813-2

Farewell, Dick ... farewell.

Farewell, Dick … farewell.

Share

‘Discovery Sundays’ at Florence Griswold Museum

flo gris 1

One of the highlights of Discovery Sundays at the Florence Griswold Museum is an outdoor Art Cart that guides families to explore the grounds and its connection to the artists. Explorer Kits are designed for various ages and skill levels.

OLD LYME – Beginning Sunday, April 3, the Florence Griswold Museum invites visitors to shake off any leftover winter blues and celebrate the beginning of Discovery Sundays. In addition to the popular “Make-A-Painting” activities, where visitors of all ages use the museum’s supplies to create their own masterpieces, Discovery Sundays now include an outdoor Art Cart that guides families to explore the grounds and its connection to the artists who famously painted there.

In addition, seasonal buildings including the Chadwick Studio and the Rafal Landscape Center will open for the season. And who knows! With any luck you’ll find some pops of color starting in the garden!

The museum is open every Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and all activities are included with admission ($10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students). Children 12 and under are always free.

The museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme. For more information, visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Share

Linares Welcomes Essex Historical Society to Capitol

Senator em

Essex Historical Society Director Melissa Josefiak and Sen. Art Linares

ESSEX – Historical societies and preservationists from across the state gathered at the State Capitol on March 23 to raise awareness about their organizations’ dedication to promoting Connecticut’s heritage for present and future generations.

The Essex Historical Society (www.essexhistory.org) was among the groups that traveled to Hartford to speak with Sen. Art Linares and other state lawmakers.

Sen. Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

 

Share

Hundreds Vigil for Late First Selectman Richard Smith, Selectmen to Meet Thursday to Discuss Succession

Candles are lit in honor of " a remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River." Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles are lit in honor of Dick Smith’s “… remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River.” (Angus McDonald Jr.)  Photo by Kim Tyler.

DEEP RIVER — The town showed its affection and appreciation for the late First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith Monday as hundreds gathered at sunset around town hall in a vigil for the longtime municipal leader who died suddenly Friday at age 65.

Hundreds gathered at Deep River Town Hall yesterday evening to pay tribute to their beloved First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday afternoon.

Hundreds gathered at Deep River Town Hall Monday evening to pay tribute to their beloved First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday afternoon.

The vigil, which precedes the funeral for Smith Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Church in Chester, came as the two remaining members of the board of selectman, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican David Oliveria, scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to discuss the process for filling the vacancy for the remainder of Smith’s term that runs through November 2017.

A quiet, candlelit moment of contemplation on a life well lived.

A quiet, candlelit moment of contemplation on a life well lived. Photo by Kim Tyler.

McDonald, who joined Oliveria to meet with town hall employees Monday afternoon, said the special meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m. in town hall would review “temporary organizational changes to cover leadership in the coming month.” McDonald, who was first elected with Smith in 2011, said he and Oliveria are still discussing who would assume the full-time job of interim first selectman through the unexpired term. The appointment of either McDonald or Oliveria to the top job would also create a new vacancy on the board of selectman.

A boy sets a candle in remembrance of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away last Friday, March 25.

During the vigil, a boy places a candle on the town hall steps in remembrance of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

“Dick Smith leaves a remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River,” McDonald said. “While we know we can never replace him, we have an obligation to our community to move quickly to fill the vacancy.”

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles light the faces of those gathered to remember Deep River First Selectman Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Town officials from both political parties joined elected officials from around the state in praising Smith, a Democrat whose 26-year tenure made him one of the longest serving municipal chief elected officials for both Middlesex County and the entire state. A South Carolina native who arrived in Connecticut around 1970, Smith was elected first selectman in 1989, and had been unopposed for a 14th consecutive term in the town election last fall. Smith had also served as a part-time town police officer since 1973.

Candles and roses are held in remembrance of Richard "Smitty" Smith at Monday night's vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles and roses are held in remembrance of Richard “Smitty” Smith at Monday night’s vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Oliveria, first elected to the board in 2009, said Smith had done “an incredible job as first selectman running all aspects of the town.” Town Treasurer Tom Lindner, a Republican who was elected to the part-time position in 1989, said Smith was “always there for everybody in Deep River.”

State Senator Phil Miller addresses the vigil participants.

State Rep. Phil Miller speaks at Monday’s vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Speakers at the vigil, where residents of Deep River and other nearby towns held lighted candles and roses in honor of the longtime town leader, recalled Smith’s tireless dedication to the town and its people. Jonathan Kastner, the first selectman’s assistant and friend, said Smith was “a problem solver who somehow found a way to keep adversaries from being too adversarial.” State Rep. Phil Miller, a former first selectman of Essex, said Smith was “a role model for anyone in any kind of public service.”

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Remembering a leader who Sen. Phil Miller described as, “a role model for anyone in any kind of public service.”  Photo by Kim Tyler.

Smith built a record of accomplishment that changed and improved Deep River during his 26 years as first selectman. There is the row of fully occupied industrial buildings at the Plattwood Park Industrial Area off Rte. 80, a 20-year- development process where Smith earned statewide recognition for using state and federal grant funds to construct buildings for small or start-up businesses as a way to help grow the town’s tax base. One of Smith’s most recent accomplishments was a Main Street redevelopment effort that began in 2005, and concluded in 2009 with construction of a Walgreen’s pharmacy on the former Deep River Inn parcel, along with various streetscape improvements for the entire length of Main Street.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Richard “Smitty” Smith: In Memoriam.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

State statute gives the two remaining selectmen up to 30 days from March 26, the day after Smith’s death, to appoint an interim first selectman who would serve until November 2017. The appointment could be forced to a special election by a petition with signatures from five percent of the town’s total voter registration, or about 158 voter signatures, that must be submitted within 15 days after any appointment to fill the vacancy.

Roses in remembrance of Richard "Smitty" Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Roses in remembrance of Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Editor’s Note: Deep River resident and professional photographer Kim Tyler, who graciously supplied all of these photos to ValleyNewsNow.com for publication, has also generously agreed to make many of the photos that she took at the vigil available to our readers at no charge.  We applaud her wonderful act of public service.  The photos will be uploaded later this evening and we will provide a link to them at that time.  For more information about Kim Tyler Photography, visit ktphoto.net

Share

Photo Gallery by Kim Tyler of Monday Night’s Vigil for Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith

DEEP RIVER — Deep River resident and professional photographer Kim Tyler, who graciously supplied all of the photos published with Charles Stannard’s story on ValleyNewsNow.com, has also generously agreed to make many of the photos that she took at the vigil available to our readers at no charge.

We applaud her wonderful act of public service and the photos are now published below.

For more information about Kim Tyler Photography, visit ktphoto.net

 

Share

Linares Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Chester

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator (R) Art Linares

Sen. Art Linares hosted a Town Hall Meeting yesterday evening at the Chester Town Hall Community Room.

Linares had invited the public to hear the latest update from the State Capitol and to have their questions answered.

 

Share

Essex’s Popular Village Provision Store Closes Doors, March 31

 Village Provision co-proprietor, Claudia Odekerken, stands outside the store.

Village Provision co-proprietor, Claudia Odekerken, stands outside the store. Photos by Jerome Wilson.

Essex’s popular Village Provision store closed its doors on Thursday, March 31. Village Provision has been operating at 6 Main Street in the heart of downtown Essex for the past fifteen and a half years, according to Claudia Odekerken, who with her husband, Jeff, has managed the unique and popular store. 

A regular customer of Village Provision for many years, Barry Fulford, said that the closing of the store was, “Absolutely dreadful.” Fulford like many of the store’s customers begins his day with a coffee, and perhaps a bagel on the side. The store also carries a full line of daily newspapers.

Village Provision’s owners in a written statement wrote, “It is with deep sadness that we announce the closing of Village Provision Company this Thursday, March 31, 2016. Due to the owner’s desire to sell the property, our lease was not renewed this year. We have been asked to vacate the property by April 1 in order for the new owner to take possession. This development has been very hard on our family, after more than 15 years of service and growth in the community, and with little time we must pack our little store and move on to a new adventure.”

The statement continued, “We would like to thank you all for your continued support through the years and for becoming more than just customers but friends. We will truly miss seeing you all every day, but our time here is not forgotten and we will look back to it with happiness, and at the many memories that we have share with you all. We will still be at Marley’s Café this summer, and we hope to see you there.”

We would also like to invite you to join us for a farewell lunch on Thursday March 31 at the Provision Store. Sincerely, Jeff, Claudia, Dylan, Michele, Patrick, Katherine and Milkey.” 

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.40.01 PM

Owner Claudia Odekerken relaxes briefly inside the store.

As to what Claudia and Jeff are going to do after the closing of Marley’s, Claudia said in an interview that she and her husband would continue to operate Marley’s restaurant on the island of the Essex Island Marina. The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner from May to September. “After that,” Claudia said, “we are just going to have to figure it out.”

Claudia also noted that she and her husband were still, “going to cater weddings, funerals and birthday parties.” Claudia noted that they also will continued to do, “plates for special occasions.” As for the rest of their future, Claudia and Jeff, remain undecided.

Share

Spring on the Homefront 1776 at Bushnell Farm, May 28

Plowing with a team of horses is one of the free events at Bushnell Farm on May 28. photo by Jody Dole

Plowing with a team of horses is one of the free events at Bushnell Farm on May 28. photo by Jody Dole

OLD SAYBROOK – Bushnell Farm will be open to the public on Saturday, May 28, for its annual free spring event.  This year the farm will be shearing sheep at noon and plowing the field with horses in the early afternoon. The private 22 acres are owned by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex and is opened for seasonal events, for school programs and for summer camp for the Connecticut River Museum.  Located at 1445 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, the event is free with on-site parking.

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., looks back 240 years to 1776, the outbreak of the American Revolution and the role that families played in supplying the troops. The Bushnell family were weavers as well as farmers and timber suppliers. They would have woven blankets, cloth for coats and tow-cloth for army tents. In 1776 the town of Saybrook, which included the present towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Westbrook and Old Saybrook, was responsible for equipping and supplying militia soldiers from Saybrook throughout the nine long years of war.

Visitors on May 28 can help with washing, dyeing, carding and spinning wool that will be woven into blankets for soldiers. They can learn about processing flax, which was turned into linen for a variety of uses.  If you ever wanted to walk behind a plow, this is your chance. Foxglove Farm will be plowing for planting wheat to sell to the town to feed their soldiers. The blacksmith will be making cooking utensils to send to troop encampments and there will be a host of other “domestic industries” underway.

This 17th-century house and farmstead is used to interpret agriculture and industry in the pre-industrial age. The private 22 acres are owned by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex and are opened for seasonal events, school programs and summer camp for the Connecticut River Museum.  Located at 1445 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, the event is free with on-site parking. For more information, call (860) 767-0674.

Share

Eastern CT Ballet Presents Spring Showcase, May 28

ballet

DEEP RIVER – Eastern Connecticut Ballet presents its Spring Showcase on Saturday, May 28, at 1:30 and 7 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River.

The afternoon performance features company works by Artistic Director Gloria Govrin (classical ballet) and guest Broadway veteran and choreographer Stephen Reed (musical theater). Matinee audiences will also enjoy “Bon Voyage,” a lively around-the-world dance adventure featuring ECB’s youngest performers (ages 3-7).

The evening performance showcases company works and class pieces from ECB’s graded classical ballet program and modern program (ages 7-18).

Tickets may be purchased in advance (prior to May 20) at Eastern Connecticut Ballet (435 Boston Post Rd., East Lyme). Advance tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for children (age 4 and up).  Children age three and under are free when seated on an adult’s lap.  Tickets are also available at the door: $22 for adults, $20 for children.  Call Eastern Connecticut Ballet at 860-739-7899 for further information.

Share

“Friend Raising” Reception in Essex for HOPE Partnership, Wednesday

hope
AREAWIDE –
HOPE Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing affordable housing options on the shoreline and lower Middlesex County, is hosting a free reception on Wednesday, March 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the River Valley Junction Gallery at Essex Steam Train.

The reception, which is HOPE’s annual “FRIEND Raiser,” is sponsored by Page Taft and Essex Steam Train. The event will include a cocktail hour, complete with appetizers, beer and wine, and is free to all who wish to attend.

HOPE is inviting all interested members of the community to come together and learn about HOPE’s mission to develop affordable housing options along the shoreline.  Executive Director Lauren Ashe noted, ”The issue of the need for affordable housing is often surrounded by myths, which we work to dispel.  Residents in need of affordable housing may be working full time but unable to make ends meet for their family or they may be young adults who wish to stay or return to the area where they grew up.   This evening is about friendship, partnership and educating the community while enjoying a glass of wine and refreshments at an amazing venue.”

Anyone interested in attending can RSVP to Loretta@HOPE-CT.org or by calling 860-388-9513. More information about HOPE at http://www.hope-ct.org/

Editor’s note: Founded in April 2004, HOPE Partnership is a non-profit organization committed to advocating and developing affordable housing opportunities to support families living and working in southern Middlesex County and surrounding towns.  HOPE’s purpose is to advocate for and create high-quality rental housing targeted to people earning between 50% and 80% of the local median income.

Share

John Winthrop MS Presents “Xanadu Jr.”

Xanadu Jr. JWMSAREAWIDE — Region 4’s John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River presents “Xanadu Jr.” on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2.  Both performances are at 7 p.m.

With over 60 students involved, “Xanadu Jr.” promises to be an energetic, family-friendly performance.  The plot follows Greek muse Kira as she helps surfer Sonny with his dream to create a roller disco in 1980 Venice Beach, Calif.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors.  Tickets are available by calling the John Winthrop Middle School main office at (860) 526-9546.

Share

CT Legislators Support Study to Preserve Plum Island From Commercial Development

Aerial voew of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Aerial view of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

OLD SAYBROOK — Last Thursday, March 24, at a press conference in Old Saybrook, a triumvirate of Congressional legislators from Connecticut, State Senator Richard Blumenthal and US Representatives Joe Courtney (D-2nd District) and Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd District) confirmed their support for a study to determine the future of Plum Island located in Long Island Sound.

Members of the Plum Island Coalition — which has some 65 member organizations all dedicated to preserving the island — were in attendance to hear the good news.

The island still houses a high-security, federal animal disease research facility, but the decision has already been taken to move the facility to a new location in Kansas with an opening slated for 2022. The current facility takes up only a small percentage of the land on the island and significantly for environmentalists, the remainder of the island has for years been left to nature in the wild.

In supporting a federal study on the future of Plum Island, Sen. Blumenthal said, “This study is a step towards saving a precious, irreplaceable national treasure from developers and polluters. It will provide the science and fact-based evidence to make our case for stopping the current Congressional plan to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder.”

He continued, “The stark truth is the sale of Plum Island is no longer necessary to build a new bioresearch facility because Congress has fully appropriated the funds. There is no need for this sale – and in fact, Congress needs to rescind the sale.”

Congress, however, still has a law on the books that authorizes the sale of Plum Island land to the highest bidder. Therefore, opponents of the sale will have the burden of convincing Congress to change a law that is currently in place.

Share

Areawide Firehouse Food Drive to Benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens

SSKP_FHFD_image_2016AREAWIDE – For the fifth year, local fire departments hosted an areawide food drive to collect non-perishable food for area residents in need. The fire stations received donations on Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP).

SSKP hopes to include as many fire departments as possible in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. So far, the Old Saybrook, Chester, Essex, Clinton and Westbrook fire departments have committed to the event. All fire departments are welcome to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our communities will have a place at the table. Last year’s drive raised 5,200 pounds of food.

The most needed items are:

Canned meats (tuna, chicken, salmon)

Canned fruits & vegetables

Peanut butter

Canned & boxed meals

Canned or dried beans

Pasta & rice

Cereal

Items not accepted:

Rusty or unlabeled cans

Perishable items

Homemade ttems

Noncommercial packaged or canned items

Alcoholic beverages & mixes

Open or used items

For more information, call (860) 388-1988, email cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org or visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

Editor’s Note: The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Founded 27 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served enough food for over one million meals to shoreline neighbors in need.

Share

Essex First Selectman Needleman Has Strong Admiration, Fond Memories of his “Friend and Mentor” Dick Smith

Two friends -- the late Dick Smith, First Selectman of Deep River (left) and Norman Needleman, First Selectman of Essex. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

Two friends — the late Dick Smith, First Selectman of Deep River (left) and Norman Needleman, First Selectman of Essex. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman paid tribute to the late Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith in a statement sent to ValleyNewsNow.com.  Needleman said, “Dick was a wonderful guy. He frequently told me how much he loved his family and his job. They were the lights in his life. He managed Deep River as a family, from the staff that worked for him to the residents he loved.”

Needleman continued, “He was an amazing First Selectman (26 years, I think) and an outstanding police officer (44 years) who dedicated his life to making Deep River and the entire Connecticut River Valley the wonderful place that it is. He was a friend and mentor who listened well and made whoever he was with feel special. His love of people made him the ultimate type of public servant.”

Finally, expressing the opinion likely shared by many, he said, “I am going to really miss him.”

Share

Courtney, Linares Pay Tribute to Dick Smith, Services Announced

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons ... and for every job in town.

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons … and for every job in town.

DEEP RIVER — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the following statement after the passing of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick was the iconic small town First Selectman who did everything from running town meetings, to plowing snow, to cleaning up storm damage with public works, as well as crowd control at the Deep River Muster, and attending every community event in town. Deep River is one of Connecticut’s jewels because it had a leader like Dick, who was always there to help those in need and help the town grow smartly. Dick was a friend whose support I will always remember and treasure, and he should live on as an example of a citizen-public servant to all who hold elected office.”

State Senator Art Linares (D-33rd), who represents Deep River, issued the following statement on the passing of First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick Smith epitomized Deep River. He was a friend to all and his advice was valued by Democrats and Republicans throughout the Connecticut River Valley. Dick was a role model public official who dedicated himself to serving his town and its residents. His loss is deeply saddening and our thoughts and prayers are with Dick’s family and the people of Deep River.”

Services for Dick Smith have now been announced as follows:

There will be a Candlelight Vigil on Monday, March 28, at Deep River Town Hall at dark (about 7:30 p.m.)

Calling hours will also be at the Town Hall on Tuesday, March 29, from5 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 30, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chester at 11 a.m.

Deep River Town Hall Closings

Deep River Town Hall will close at noon on Tuesday and remain closed on Wednesday.  Normal business hours will resume on Thursday.

Share

Town of Deep River Announces Death of First Selectman Dick Smith

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — The Town of Deep River has announced the passing yesterday afternoon (Friday, March 25) of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith. An announcement on the town’s website states, “The Town of Deep River has suffered a terrible loss in the passing of Dick Smith. The town has lost a leader of over 26 years, the community has lost a friend, and we are saddened beyond words, but its immediate thoughts are with Dick’s family, who has lost a father and a grandfather.” The statement adds, “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

Details of services have not yet been announced.

Our reporter Charles Stannard wrote in an article published July 28, 2015, on ValleyNewsNow.com that Smith, then 64, was, “one of the longest serving municipal elected officials in Connecticut.”  The article also noted that Smith said he, “never considered stepping aside this year,” adding, “I love what I do, it’s like my extended family.” Smith told Stannard during the interview that his priorities for the next two years were, “Keeping taxes down as much as we can,” along with a firehouse renovation and expansion project.

Stannard also reported, “Smith’s last challenge for the top job came in 2007 from the now defunct Deep River Independent Party. He was uncontested for re-election in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Town Republicans have not nominated a candidate for first selectman since 2005.”

We extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Smith’s family.

Share

Essex Zoning Commission Continues Hearings on Cumberland Farms Rebuild, Plains Rd. Apartments to April 18

ESSEX — The zoning commission has continued to April 18 the public hearings on separate applications for a rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store at 82 Main St. in the Centerbrook section, and a 52-unit apartment complex with an affordable housing component on Plains Rd.

Both applicants agreed at public hearings Monday to extend the legal deadline for closure of the public hearings on the two applications.  Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the extensions will require the commission to vote on April 18 on the site plan review application from Signature Contracting Group LLC of Westport for the apartments, while the panel will have until June to act on the Cumberland Farms application.

The Cumberland Farms application includes a demolition, rebuild, and expansion of the existing store to include three gasoline pumping stations under an canopy.  The new 4,250-square-foot store would include a public restroom, a new septic system, and lighting.  The size of the canopy, along with the need for a third pumping station, generated the most discussion, and some objections, Monday.

Nearby residents  Robert and Laurie Hernandez objected to the size of the canopy, which would be about 80-feet long, and the third pumping station.  Laurie Hernandez said the applicants were ‘trying to jam and prototype onto a very small lot,” to build “something that would be at an I-95 off ramp.”

Joel Marzi, the town clerk who is an abutting property owner at 21 Westbrook Rd., said he has concerns about the size of the canopy, but would also appreciate an upgrade of the site.

Joan Wallace, who lives on the opposite side of Westbrook Rd., said she has concerns about the canopy, lighting, and also traffic flow, contending there are already traffic backups for vehicles heading north to the Centerbrook traffic light.  Wallace asked if Cumberland Farms would be willing to proceed with an expansion and upgrade of the store without a third fuel pumping station.

Joseph Williams, an attorney for Cumberland Farms with the firm of Shipman & Goodwin, said an additional fueling station was key to the company’s plan to pursue an estimated $3 million expansion and upgrade of the store.  Two residents, Kenneth Bombaci and Strickland Hyde, spoke in support of the project.

With several issues still under discussion, and approval of the new septic system still pending from the town health department, Williams agreed to continue the hearing to April 18.

The site plan for the apartment complex on a 3.7-acre parcel that would combine parcels at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Rd., including the long vacant Iron Chef restaurant property, has been filed under state statute 8-30g, which is intended to encourage additional affordable housing in Connecticut.  The proposed 52 units in three separate buildings would include 16 units designated as moderate income housing.  Each building would have a septic system, which requires approval from the state Department of Public Health.

One new development Monday came when lawyer John Bennet announced that he has been designated an intervener in the application process for Northbound 9 LLC, which owns the commercial building on the opposite side of Plains Rd.  The building contains the office of Bennet’s law firm, and a local construction company.

Bennet said the objections to the project focus on the potential for “environmental damage.”  Under the 8-30g law, the commission could reject the application only for public health and safety reasons.

Share

What’s the Latest on That Proposed High Speed Train Track Through Southeast CT?

Many readers have contacted us to inquire what has happened — as well as a sea of other questions — to the Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) proposal to route a high speed rail track through the center of Old Lyme bifurcating Lyme Street just to the south of the I-95 bridge. The ‘comment period’ closed Feb. 15 and so we feel the questions raised by our readers — many of whom submitted comments — are entirely justified.

We turned to Gregory Stroud to seek some answers.

Stroud, an Old Lyme resident, has taken a deep and enduring interest in the FRA’s proposal and has, in the process, become extremely knowledgeable on the complexities of the project. For regular readers, you will recall that Stroud wrote the original editorial on LymeLine.com that sparked an avalanche of interest in and concern about the FRA’s proposal. He graciously agreed to respond to our questions and we are planning to publish his responses — question by question — in a series starting today.

Stroud has also created a Facebook page titled SECoast at Old Lyme where readers can glean a plethora of information about the project and be kept current on developments.

And if you ready to be shocked, take a look at the rendering below to get a sense of how the railroad will intrude into our quiet, relatively reclusive life in Old Lyme … and we stress, this image is to scale.

Rendering by Robin Breeding of the high-speed train in Old Lyme drawn/created to scale.

Rendering by Robin Breeding of the high-speed train in Old Lyme drawn/created to scale.

Here’s our first question:

Question (LymeLine.com ): What has happened since the “Comment” period was closed?

Answer (Gregory Stroud): Great question. But first, let me offer a little background. The Federal Railroad Administration actually outsources the planning process to a contractor, a huge multinational based out of Montreal, called Parsons Brinckerhoff. They specialize in this sort of project. They worked on The Big Dig up in Boston. They are same people who planned the Baldwin Bridge, and who electrified the rail lines to our east a few years ago. Parsons Brinckerhoff knows Old Lyme. They’ve faced local community activists before. And they’ve won.

So … with two weeks to go before the comment deadline, Parsons Brinckerhoff was reading a lazy stream of public comment, averaging just a comment every other day for a few years, and suddenly all heck breaks loose. Comments start pouring in from Old Lyme—1,200 comments out of 3,000 received from every town and city from Washington to Boston. Those numbers pretty much guarantee that more people cared enough to comment in Old Lyme, than in Manhattan, or Boston, or even Baltimore, which has its own contentious tunnel project. Add in the outreach to Hartford and Washington, and suddenly Old Lyme is on the map.

The good news is that the contractor has actually reached out to Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, to Daniel Mackay at Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and others. Parsons Brinckerhoff is making cordial, if maybe grudging, efforts to respond to the local outcry. You have to understand, as a contractor, they are in a tough place. They need to get this done by the end of the summer. They want to make their bosses at the Federal Railroad Administration happy. They have to make the people funding this in the Senate and Congress happy. It has to be something that Hartford can swallow.

In this grand balancing act, Old Lyme is a bit of a nuisance. I don’t get the sense that Stamford or New Haven or Hartford are somehow secretly plotting to send high-speed rail through Old Lyme. It’s not malicious. From what I understand, nearly everyone in-state would actually prefer Alternative 2, connecting Hartford to Boston. Parsons Brinckerhoff just wants to get this done. Right now they are busy with their statutory obligation of weighing every one of those 1200 comments.

That said, no one really wants a small town at the mouth of the Connecticut river to upset the tea cart. If at the end of the day, Washington and Hartford decide that a train has to run through Old Lyme, then they plan to run a train through Old Lyme. I think it’s fair to say that pretty much everyone wants us to pipe down and behave.

So, of course, they start telling us what they think we want to hear. Most importantly, for the first time the idea of tunnel is floated, privately, details to be determined at some uncertain date, perhaps 2 billion dollars added the price tag—quite an accomplishment for a few weeks work! But don’t believe it for a second.

At Tier 1, the current planning stage, these vague promises mean almost nothing. Sure, they can relabel the purple line running through Old Lyme, and call it a tunnel. But it’s the purple line that really matters. In two years they can just decide that a tunnel is too expensive or impractical, and it’s a bridge all over again. To be clear, no one has actually carried out engineering or environmental studies on a tunnel. In this planning process, the decisions are coming before the studies. The cart before the horse.

So, where are we now in the process? Everyone should understand that the Federal Railroad Administration is replacing their master plan for the Northeast. The current plan dates back to 1978. The next plan will reshape rail in the Northeast for the next 25 years.

A decision will be made, probably in August. The choice will be announced around September 1. And if the Federal Railroad Administration chooses Alternative 1, and Alternative 1 still has a purple line running through Old Lyme, then we are in for the fight of a lifetime. We have a once-a-generation chance to shape federal plans for Old Lyme, and we need to get this right.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Gregory Stroud.

Share

Land Trusts’ Photo Contest Winners Announced

Hank Golet Mitchell Award a

Winner of the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award – Hank Golet

The 10th Annual Land Trusts’ Photo Contest winners were announced at a March 11 reception highlighting the winning photos and displaying all entered photos. Land trusts in Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, Essex and East Haddam jointly sponsor the annual amateur photo contest to celebrate the scenic countryside and diverse wildlife and plants in these towns. The ages of the photographers ranged from children to senior citizens.

Hank Golet won the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award, with his beautiful photograph of a juvenile yellow crowned night heron in the Black Hall River in Old Lyme. Alison Mitchell personally presented the award, created in memory of her late husband John G. Mitchell, an editor at National Geographic, who championed the cause of the environment.

William Burt, a naturalist and acclaimed wildlife photographer, who has been a contest judge for ten years, received a special mention. Judges Burt; Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and Skip Broom, a respected, award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright, chose the winning photographs from 219 entries.

The sponsoring land trusts – Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust – thank the judges as well as generous supporters RiverQuest/ CT River Expeditions, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Ballek’s Garden Center, Essex Savings Bank, Chelsea Groton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell. Big Y and Fromage Fine Foods & Coffee provided support for the reception.

The winning photographers are:

John G. Mitchell Environmental Award, Hank Golet, Old Lyme

Youth
1st: Patrick Burns, East Haddam
2nd: Judah Waldo, Old Lyme
3rd: James Beckman, Ivoryton
Honorable Mention Gabriel Waldo, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Sarah Gada, East Haddam
Honorable Mention Shawn Parent, East Haddam

Cultural/Historic
1st: Marcus Maronne, Mystic
2nd: Normand L. Charlette, Manchester
3rd:  Tammy Marseli, Rocky Hill
Honorable Mention  Jud Perkins, Salem
Honorable Mention Pat Duncan, Norwalk
Honorable Mention John Kolb, Essex

Landscapes/Waterscapes
1st: Cheryl Philopena, Salem
2nd: Marian Morrissette, New London
3rd:  Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Cynthia Kovak, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Bopha Smith, Salem
Honorable Mention  Pat Duncan, Norwalk

Plants
1st: Mary Waldron, Old Lyme
2nd: Courtney Briggs, Old Saybrook
3rd: Linda Waters, Salem
Honorable Mention Pete Govert, East Haddam
Honorable Mention Marcus Maronne, Mystic
Honorable Mention Marian Morrissette, New London

Wildlife
1st: Chris Pimley, Essex
2nd: Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme
3rd: Linda Waters, Salem
Honorable Mention Thomas Nemeth, Salem
Honorable Mention Jeri Duefrene, Niantic
Honorable Mention Elizabeth Gentile, Old Lyme

First place winner of Wildlife category - Chris Pimley

First place winner of Wildlife category – Chris Pimley

The winning photos will be on display at the Lymes’ Senior Center for the month of March and Lyme Public Library in April. For more information go to lymelandtrust.org.

Share

Invasive Species Explored at CT River Museum’s Featured 2016 Exhibit Opening April 1

invaders pic 2

The “Invaders” exhibit features original artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and explores the issues related to invasive species in the River Valley and local region.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum unveils its 2016 featured exhibit Invaders: They Come by Air, Land & Water! on Friday, April 1. Invaders examines the threat of invasive species to the Connecticut River Valley, a region celebrated for its ecological and biological diversity. As the exhibit notes: “In many cases, the invasion resembles a classic monster movie that unfortunately has serious, real-life consequences.”

The museum commissioned accomplished illustrator Michael DiGiorgio to create original movie poster artwork that uses invasives in place of the classic monsters. The museum also collaborated with Channel 3 Eyewitness News to create fascinating “Orson Wells style” in-the-field interviews with invasive species experts.

Experts include Cynthia Boettner from Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, David Molnar from the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, Judy Preston from the Long Island Sound Study, and the museum’s own environmental specialist William Yule.

Invaders explores current threats through the themes of air, land and water. William Yule said, “Over the past four centuries of European and global contact, humans have intentionally and inadvertently introduced non-native life forms to this fragile ecosystem.” Of the dozens of invasive species explored in the exhibit, some of the highlights include Asiatic bittersweet that people often use in holiday decorations, and the beautiful purple loosestrife.

Also featured is didymo, known as “rock snot” which is often spread via fishing equipment. This asexual single cell organism likes cool, fresh water and can quickly multiply creating a thick mat on the bottom of riverbeds, destroying trout habitats.

There is also a laboratory that will allow children and adults to explore and identify invasive species through microscopes, specimens and fun activities. The exhibit closes with a “Call to Action” on the many ways the public can make a difference.  As the Museum Curator Amy Trout noted, “Once visitors can identify and understand these invasive species better, they can take action through prevention and activism.”

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs said, “The museum has a mission and a responsibility to lead in the preservation of the Valley’s cultural and natural heritage.” Dobbs was quick to note that the exhibit would not have been possible without the support from presenting sponsor, the Long Island Sound Study, and other dedicated sponsors that include Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The exhibit will be on view at the Museum in Essex until Oct. 10, when it will begin to travel to libraries, schools, museums and nature centers. Dobbs said, “We want it to be an ambassador of the museum and help spotlight this important issue.”

For more information on the exhibit, related programs, or to arrange a tour destination, contact the Connecticut River Museum (860-767-8269) or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley. The museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: The Connecticut River Museum’s 2016 exhibit Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water! features original artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and explores the issues related to invasive species in the River Valley and local region.

 

 

Share

Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Monday

Priscilla Brastrianos, MD

Priscilla Brastrianos, MD

AREAWIDE – In 2006, two friends, Norma Logan and Sandy Maniscalco, launched a nonprofit, the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation (TBBCF), dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer. In 10 years, it has raised $3.4 million and funded 34 research scientists, many of whom are doing groundbreaking work in their fields.

To celebrate these achievements, the foundation is having a “birthday party” on Monday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m., at the Crozier-Williams Center at Connecticut College.

The keynote speaker is Priscilla Brastianos, MD, who received a TBBCF research grant in 2012. She is director of the Central Nervous System Metastasis Program, Mass. General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She also been named one of eight 2015 “NextGen Stars” by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The work of Dr. Brastianos has been reported as the first successful use of a targeted therapy drug to treat a patient with a debilitating, recurrent brain tumor as a result of breast cancer metastasis. Dr. Brastianos will speak about her research and how important TBBCF research dollars are to young researchers like herself.

The vision of the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation is to realize effective treatment options to eradicate all types of breast cancer. The foundation’s core value is that 100 percent of funds raised goes directly to breast cancer research. Administrative costs are either sponsor supported or volunteer provided.

Meet Dr. Brastianos and the TBBCF leadership and enjoy light refreshments and a slice of 10th anniversary birthday cake on March 28. Connecticut College is at 270 Mohegan Ave., New London. For more information,  www.tbbcf.org  or call 860-437-1400.

TBBCF_logo_203

TBBCF_logo_203

Share

Needleman Purchases New Home Site at Foxboro Point for $1.375 Million

Needleman’s new home will be immediately to the right of the iconic windmill on Foxboro Point.

Needleman’s new home will be immediately to the right of the iconic windmill on Foxboro Point.

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman has purchased a site for a new home on Foxboro Point for $1,375,000.  The First Selectman’s property is located immediately to the right of the iconic windmill at Foxboro Point.

In discussing his purchase, Needleman estimated that it will take, “a couple of years,” before he can move into a new home on his Foxboro Point property.

Needleman presently lives in the Book Hill Woods area of Essex.

Share

Public Invited to Opioid Addiction Awareness, Education Forum in Old Saybrook This Evening

carney_posterState Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) along with State Senators Art Linares (R- 33rd) and Paul Formica (R-20th) are hosting an Opioid Addiction Awareness and Education Forum in Old Saybrook Wednesday, March 23, at Acton Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

A panel of experts including local representatives and the state officials will discuss addiction and the current heroin and opioid crisis.

All are welcome at this important event.

The library is located at 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.

Share

Senators Fight to Preserve Crucial Hospital Services

AREAWIDE – Sen. Paul Formica and Sen. Art Linares met with area hospital officials at the Legislative Office Building on March 23 to discuss ways to protect vital health care services for vulnerable populations like the disabled, children and seniors.

To protect those most in need, Formica and Linares, along with Senate and House Republicans, are proposing a plan to restore the governor’s funding cuts to Connecticut hospitals. The 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly ends in May.

Sen. Formica (www.senatorformica.com) represents Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford.

Sen. Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

(L-R): Yale-New Haven Health System Senior Vice President of External Affairs Vin Petrini, Yale-New Haven Health System CEO Marna Borgstrom, Sen. Paul Formica, Yale-New Haven Health System Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Gayle Capozzalo, and Sen. Art Linares.

(L-R): Yale-New Haven Health System Senior Vice President of External Affairs Vin Petrini, Yale-New Haven Health System CEO Marna Borgstrom, Sen. Paul Formica, Yale-New Haven Health System Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Gayle Capozzalo, and Sen. Art Linares.

Share

Letter From Paris: A Divided Europe is Too Weak to Resist Turkish Pressure

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

The European Union (EU) is going through what most consider the toughest times in its history. The surge of migrants, not only from the Middle East but also from South East Asia and Africa, has provoked an untenable human crisis on the continent. It is threatening the fundamental principles on which the (EU) was built. In desperation, Europe turned to Turkey for help and became the prey of an authoritarian government whose main objective is to force its way into the EU.

More than ever Angela Merkel has become the homme fort (the strong man) of Europe. She is the only one among the 28 heads of state of the EU to have taken a clear stand on how to manage the migrant crisis – albeit without a well-thought-out plan. The general opinion here is that, as a good pastor’s daughter, she has been motivated by a sense of moral duty when she opened her arms to the migrants at the end of 2015.

German Chancellor Angela merkel shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the historic agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the historic agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

On the flip side, her methods have irked many Europeans such as her several one-on-one talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The day before the crucial March 7 meeting in Brussels, she met Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davitoglu for a six-hour long discussion, which lasted late into the night in an hotel near the Commission. The only officials present were Jean Claude Junker, president of the European Commission and Netherland Mark Rutte, president of the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the European Council).

The French daily Le Monde described what happened in an article titled, “The night when Angela Merkel lost Europe.” On the morning of March 7, diplomats and EU officials were stunned to discover the text of the pre-agreement. None of them had been in the loop, not even Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, who had talked to every single EU leader state seeking to create a consensual policy.

To speak in the German Chancellor’s defense, however, one should stress the pitiful lack of solidarity between the 28 EU members. From the start the Visegrad group (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic) – a remnant from the former Iron Curtain countries – closed their borders to the migrants. Other East European countries like Bulgaria and Rumania are also opposed to mandatory refugee quota.

The chancellor felt betrayed when, on Feb. 24, Austria called a meeting of the Balkan states to stop the influx of migrants. Greece, the Balkan country most affected by the migrant crisis, was not invited. Neither Brussels nor Berlin was notified. David Cameron is too embroiled with his Brexit issue to get involved.

France has its own problems — it is still recovering from the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, it does not want to help the right wing Front National by opening its borders too much and it is busy fighting radical Islam in five countries of the Sahel. The “Franco-German couple” was described by some people as “moribund.”

As regional elections were approaching, Merkel made a 180 degree turn by tightening her immigration policy. It was back to realpolitik lest public opinion forgets that she is a tough politician.

The German elections on March 13 did reflect the growing opposition to the influx of migrants. The populist parties made substantial gains in the three Landers, both in the affluent West and in the remnant of the poorer RDA : in Bad Wurtenberg the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) gained 15.1 percent and in Rhineland Palatinate 12.6 percent. In Saxe-Anhalt , AfD placed second, right behind the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) with 24.3 percent of the votes.

Daniel Cohn Bendit, former “green” euro-deputy commented, “What is important is that 55-60 percent of the German population still supports Angela Merkel’s policy regrading the migrants. Such scores would make many politicians green with envy.”

On March 18, the negotiations between the EU and Turkey toward the final agreement looked like a haggling process with a “toxic but needed partner,” to use the words of Pierre Servent, military expert. Immediately the text raised violent criticisms across the board.

The plan concocted by Davitoglu is complicated, requiring extremely challenging logistics to implement. The objectives are to stop the drownings, curtail the despicable activities of the passeurs (smugglers), legalize entry into Europe of persons entitled to asylum and send back to their countries of origin the “economic refugees.” From now on all the migrants arriving in Greece – whether “real” refugees or not – will be shipped back to Turkey. Then, for one Syrian refugee leaving Europe, one Syrian refugee will return to Europe through an humanitarian corridor.

Turkey will be the central player of the plan, which it will co-steer with the UN Frontex agency. For this job Turkey expects to receive another three billion Euros. Some commentators describe the whole process as a mass deportation. Legal experts find the plan to be a violation of human rights as written in the European constitution and in the 1949 Geneva convention on the right to asylum.

The task is herculean, commented Jean Claude Yunker. A heavy responsibility is being placed on Greece. Judges, translators, and up to 4,000 people will have to be hired to process the human flow. France and Italy worry that the migrants, in order to avoid Turkey, will look for other access routes to Europe .

Turkey demanded two sets of compensation for services rendered: simplification of visa requirements for Turkish individuals traveling to Europe and acceleration of Turkey’s acceptance into the EU. At first the European negotiators wanted these topics to be red lines not to be crossed. They had to be satisfied with the inclusion of a few caveats in the text — 72 criteria for obtaining a visa; only one chapter open for the membership discussion and not five as Turkey wanted.)

It is to be expected that Europe will drag its feet to accommodate Turkey. After 52 years, its position on Turkey still has not changed — it does not think Turkey belongs in Europe.

The migrant crisis has left Europe weaker, not very proud of itself and more divided than ever.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole LoganAbout the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

AAUW Presents Program Tonight on ‘Empowering Afghan Women and Girls’ at Essex Library

UNAMA School in Afghanistan

UNAMA School in Afghanistan

AREAWIDE – There are contingents of Afghan women who, with incredible courage and determination, are making a difference in this war-weary country. They are desperate for an education, to have a salaried job, to have influence in their family, to have a say in government and at peace tables, and to hold up at least some of the Afghan sky. They seek to bring peace and stability to their homeland.

On Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m., Hally Siddons will present an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on how members of the Canadian Federation of University Women have worked to understand the plight of these women, to advocate for them, and to provide support in Afghanistan and in Ottawa.

Hally Siddons, the past president of the Canadian Federation of University Women, Ottawa, is instrumental in developing a project to support education and a school for women in Afghanistan. She is coming to Essex after attending the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, where she has also presented.

This program, sponsored by the AAUW Lower Connecticut Valley, is free and open to the public. Please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

 

Share

Salt Marsh Opera Hosts Master Class Led by Soprano Patricia Schuman

Patricia Schuman

Patricia Schuman

AREAWIDE – The internationally acclaimed soprano Patricia Schuman will lead a Master Class on Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. The class is sponsored by the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera.

Ms. Schuman has been engaged with the most distinguished opera houses throughout Europe and the United States, including the Metropolitan Opera with James Levine, La Scala with Riccardo Muti, Vienna State Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

The church is located at 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme. Suggested donation is $20. A reception will follow the Master Class.

 

Share

Essex Library’s Career Series for High Schoolers Continues Through May

Essex Public Library where the Career Series is being held.

Essex Public Library where the Career Series is being held.

ESSEX — As the middle of the winter season drags on and springtime can be just vaguely made out in the distance, many are looking forward to the exciting prospects that the new season will bring. For some, it is merely the release from Connecticut’s raw winter weather and the enticement of warm weather activities; while for a body of young people, the anxious wait for college application decisions has begun.

Selecting a college major, along with a career path, may appear to be a perplexing ordeal to those who have not yet found their niche. As a member of the restless class of teenagers who are anticipating the decision that will become the foundation for their future careers, I empathize with others who are in the same boat as I am and have not yet chosen a designated career path.

logoThankfully, the Essex Library has teamed up with Education Solutions of Essex to lend a helping hand to students who freeze up when that all-too-familiar, “What do you want to major in?” question strikes.

The Essex Library is a professionally-run, free public library that encourages all visitors to explore all that is offered. The youth and teen program, headed by Jessica Branciforte, is especially vibrant.

Branciforte is the smiling face behind the wonderful programs that are offered at the library for adolescents ranging from toddlers to teens. Education Solutions is a consulting firm that helps students and families identify and navigate through the process of selecting a school or career pathway.

Exterior_brick&sign_213KBA career series entitled “Demystifying the Future” has been created for students aged 12 and older who are searching for the career path that will suit them best. During each session, the Essex Library hosts a professional from a wide variety of areas ranging from communications to engineering, robotics, business and beyond. These informational sessions give students the opportunity to learn about classes required, industry trends, job prospects, degree information, salary ranges, and additional principal information regarding the career path.

Branciforte is co-heading the project along with Teal Reamer at Education Solutions, and discusses the motive behind creating the program. Branciforte comments, “Students are entering into a world where the options are overwhelming, and the pressure is on. Seeing a career description on paper is quite different from immersing oneself in the field, so it is both thrilling and reassuring to bring in experts who are willing to share their passion.”

The series runs through May 2016. The third session in this series is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, from 6 to 7 p.m. and will feature keynote speaker Jeff Reamer who will share his experience with business and finance. The program is an opportune time to interact with people who have had first-hand experience in career areas that gives invaluable insight into a career field that may be of interest.  

To register for the session or for more information, contact the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.

Editor’s Note: Essex Library Association is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT 06426. Opening hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10am – 6pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 10am -7pm; Friday, 10am – 5pm; and Saturday, 10am – 4pm. The library is closed on Sundays. For more information, visit  http://www.youressexlibrary.org or call (860) 767-1560

Share

What Happens to Your Money? Authors Speak on Financial System’s Failures, May 22

Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis

CHESTER – Every year, Americans pay billions of dollars in fees to those who run our financial system. The money comes from our bank accounts, our pensions and our borrowing, and often we aren’t told that the money has been taken. These billions may be justified if the finance industry does a good job, but as an important new book shows, it too often fails us.

This is the message of the three authors of the book, What They Do With Your Money, two of whom will be at a free Books & Bagels program open to all at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 22, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

Stephen Davis and Jon Lukomnik will talk about the ways that financial institutions place their business interests first, charging for advice that does nothing to improve performance, employing short-term buying strategies that are corrosive to building long-term value, and sometimes concealing both their practices and their investment strategies from investors.

Praise for the book comes not only from international authorities but from former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, co-author of the Dodd-Frank legislation intended to prevent a repeat of the banking system collapse that occurred in 2008. Dodd says, “As only insiders can, Davis, Lukomnik, and Pitt-Watson shine a spotlight on hidden cracks in the system that can still put hard-earned savings at risk. This is a vital book for anyone concerned about how to make the finance industry generate wealth for all of us.”

Along with their third collaborator, David Pitt-Watson, Davis and Lukomnik also wrote the prizewinning book, The New Capitalists, in which the authors demonstrated how ordinary people are working together to demand accountability from even the most powerful corporations.

Jon Lukomnik

Jon Lukomnik

The three address such issues from authoritative academic perspectives. Davis is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s program on corporate governance. (He is also president of the board of the Chester synagogue.) Lukomnik is executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center. David Pitt-Watson is the former head of the Hermes shareholder activist funds in Europe and an executive fellow of finance at the London Business School.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. As always for the Books & Bagels programs, the program is open at no charge to the public, and reservations are not required.  For more information about CBSRZ, visit cbsrz.org or call the office, 860-526-8920.

Share

Old Lyme Town Band Kicks off 2016 Season at Christ the King, May 22

Old Lyme Town Band

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band, under the direction of Carolyn Whinnem, will perform the first concert of their 2016 season at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 4pm.  Their second concert will be at The Kate, Old Saybrook, on Wednesday May, 25, 2016 at 7 pm.

For more details visit the Old Lyme Town Band website at www.OldLymeTownBand.org

Share

Artists Invited to Take Chester Historical Society’s Creative Challenge Before April 9

The Chester Historical Society invites you to take its Sticks Challenge based on these “orange sticks” made by the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works around 1950. More information at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. Photo by Skip Hubbard

The Chester Historical Society invites you to take its Sticks Challenge based on these “orange sticks” made by the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works around 1950. More information at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. Photo by Skip Hubbard

AREAWIDE – The Chester Historical Society is inviting anyone who likes a challenge to participate in its sixth Creative Challenge linking Chester history and art.

This spring, those accepting the 2016 Sticks Challenge will be given a bagful of short wooden manicure sticks, made from Florida citrus trees and shaped at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works on Maple Street around 1950.

As with last year’s Hooked Again! Challenge based on hooks from Chester’s M.S. Brooks factory, this spring’s Sticks Challenge is for area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelry designers, and all others with a creative mind.

The sticks are available at Chester Gallery in Chester Center (860-526-9822). The artists’ entrance fee of $30 includes a bagful of the sticks and two tickets to the Sticks Challenge Silent Auction & Reception on Saturday, April 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

Those who do not wish to take the Challenge can purchase tickets now at the Chester Gallery. All proceeds from the evening help the Chester Historical Society preserve Chester history and maintain the Chester Museum at The Mill.

For more information on the Historical Society and this year’s Creative Challenge, visit www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.com or Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety

 

 

Share

‘Spay It Forward’ Fundraiser in Ivoryton Tonight Benefits Local Animal Shelters

AREAWIDE – Homeward Bound CT and CT Animal House want to help local animal shelters get their dogs spayed and neutered.

The organizations are co-hosting a Spay it Forward beer, wine and silent auction fundraiser at the Blue Hound Taproom at 107 Main Street in Ivoryton on Monday, March 21, from 6 to 9 p.m.  The evening will feature local craft beers at a cash bar, free appetizers and a terrific silent auction.

“Spay/neuter saves pets’ lives while lessening the burden on animal shelters and taxpayers,” said Chris Lamb, founder and president of CT Animal House in Waterford. “We are happy to partner with Homeward Bound Adoption events to create a fund dedicated to sponsoring or subsidizing Connecticut dogs in honor of World Spay Day 2016. Each time a dog or cat is spay/neutered, its chances at adoption increase, and the animal no longer contributes to the cycle of abandoned, neglected or abused homelessness.”

Local veterinary practices, including Chester Veterinary Clinic, Higganum Veterinary Clinic, Powder Ridge Veterinary Hospital and Shoreline Veterinary Hospital, have offered free or discounted surgeries through this program.  Others, including Dr. Suzanne Magruder of Saybrook Veterinary Hospital and Dr. Virginia Nunes Olson of Pieper Memorial Veterinary Center, have provided program administrators with free vouchers towards spay/neuter surgery.  All services will be provided on a need-based system and the project will continue until funds are depleted.

Sue Hotkowski, Homeward Bound president and a resident of Chester, said, “We are overwhelmed by the support of our local veterinarians in our first ever effort to ‘spay it forward.’ Connecticut is blessed to have such wonderful community support for helping its abandoned dogs.”

Local merchants that have donated to the spay/neuter project evening on March 21 include the fundraiser hosts, Blue Hound Cookery and Taproom, Two Roads Brewery, Steady Habits, Outer Light Brewery, 30 Mile Brewery, Willimantic Brewery, Bishops Orchards, Essex Steam Train, Love the Dog, East River Oil, Asterisk, and Sweet Luna’s.

Tickets for the March 21 fundraiser cost $25 each and can be purchased online or at the door.  All direct donations are tax deductible.  All money raised will go towards the spay/neuter fund to be administered by Homeward Bound.

Editor’s note: CT Animal House provides the services necessary to get abandoned Connecticut dogs into safe and permanent homes.  They remove high risk dogs from municipal pounds and provide the veterinary and behavioral care needed to increase the chances of adoption.  Homeward Bound helps dog rescue groups by hosting adoption events, and sponsoring and promoting rescue dogs. More information can be found on the websites www.CTAnimalHouse.org, and http://homewardboundadoptionevents.jimdo.com/.

Sue Hotkowski gets a kiss from Bart, an abandoned Connecticut dog, after being spayed on World Spay Day in February at Chester Veterinary Hospital. Bart has since been adopted.

Sue Hotkowski gets a kiss from Bart, an abandoned Connecticut dog, after being spayed on World Spay Day in February at Chester Veterinary Hospital. Bart has since been adopted.

Share

Essex Zoning Commission Resumes Public Hearings Monday on Apartment Complex and Centerbrook Cumberland Farms Rebuild

ESSEX — The zoning commission will resume public hearings Monday on two large-scale development proposals, a proposed 52-unit apartment complex on Plains Rd., and a rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store at 82 Main St. in the Centerbrook section. The hearings reconvene at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at town hall.

Public hearings on both proposals opened on Feb. 22. Signature Contracting Group LLC of Westport is seeking site plan approval for 52 apartment units in three buildings on a 3.7-acre parcel that would combine properties at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Road. The parcel at 21 Plains Rd. was the site of the former Iron Chef restaurant, and was previously the location of a bowling alley and the Essex Junction restaurant and movie theatre. Now owned by Treuhold Essex LLC of Scarsdale, N.Y. it has been vacant for about nine years. The properties at 27 and 29 Plains Rd. are residential properties owned by the local Costa family.

The plans for the Essex Station Luxury Apartments call for 52 units in three buildings, including two buildings with three floors and one two-story structure. Thirty percent of the units, or16 units, would be designated as moderate income housing under state statute 8-30g, which was adopted more than a decade ago to promote low and moderate income housing in Connecticut. The maximum rent for these units would be about $1,800 per month.

Because the site plan review application is filed as a proposed 8-30g project, the commission faces some limits on its authority to reject or demand major changes in the plans. Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the panel has been advised by legal counsel that it could only reject the project for reasons directly related to safety and public health. Budrow said the plans drew a generally mild reaction at the Feb. 22 hearing , with “questions but not a lot of vocal opposition.”

The Cumberland Farms project calls for demolition of the 1,800-square-foot existing store that opened in the 1990s, replacing it with a 4,200-square-foot store with three gasoline pump islands, one more than the two currently on site. The pumping stations would be under a 24-foot by 55-foot canopy. The plan drew some objections at the Feb. 22 hearing, mostly focused on traffic flow and the size of the canopy.

Budrow said legal timelines require the commission to close the public hearing on the Plains Rd. apartment complex, and vote on the application Monday, unless the applicant approves an extension that would push the deadline for a decision to April 18. He said the panel also faces an April deadline for action on the Cumberland Farms project.

Another public hearing on a new application scheduled to open Monday is for a proposed take-out pizza shop in a section of the former Ivoryton Store building at 104 Main St. in the Ivoryton section. The applicant is Paul Cappazone.

Share

New Trustees Join the Board at The Kate

kate logoOLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) has welcomed three new members to the Board of Trustees that oversees the Kate – Devin Carney, Thomas Gezo and Anne Barosewicz-Mele.

Devin Carney is the Connecticut State Representative for the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.   For several years he has been involved with the Kate’s Oscar Party, where he proudly contributes his grandfather Art Carney’s Oscar to the festivities.

A business coach and consultant, Thomas Gezo has previously managed projects and contracts in his corporate career for high-tech software companies. He is a certified SCORE business mentor and the AVP of the Southern New England Chapter of PMI, responsible for programming in the New London region.  He and his wife, Evelyn, are current volunteers with the Kate.

Anne Bartosewicz-Mele is an energy infrastructure expert, having worked with Northeast Utilities and currently Burns & McDonnell. She has also served on various nonprofit boards, including the Bushnell Park Foundation and Leadership Greater Hartford.

“The staff and the Board of Trustees of the Kate are delighted to welcome the new trustees into the organization,” said the Kate’s executive director, Brett Elliott. “We look forward to combining backgrounds and talents on behalf of the Kate for its long-term mission.”

Share

Essex Has New, More Readable Street Signs

Essex street sign
ESSEX — The old and largely unreadable street signs in Essex have now been almost completely replaced. The new street signs have larger letters and are more readable than were the old ones. To date 250 new street signs have been delivered, and most have now been installed. The new signs are nine inches high, and can accommodate street names with letters six inches high. The total cost of the new street signs is approximately $13,330.

Essex Street sign

According to the office of Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, the main reason for installing the new street signs is safety. Also, the old signs were barely readable under limited light conditions, and they posed a particular problem for visitors to Essex. In addition the old signs received numerous complaints from Essex residents. Also, one of the most urgent needs for the new Essex street signs was to assist the vehicles of emergency responders, such as hospital ambulances and fire trucks, trying to find street addresses in Essex.

Essex Street sign

The new signs conform to new traffic code requirements, which specify the letter size of road signs, based on an individual road’s speed limits. Also, there are new retro reflective backgrounds on the new street signs, making them easier to read under limited light conditions. The roll out of the new street signs started with state roads, then next came the town roads in Ivoryton and Centerbrook, then the town roads surrounding Essex Village, and finally the town roads in the village itself. The final instillation of the new roads should be finished in the next few weeks.

A spokesperson in Needleman office noted, “The new road signs have been very well received.” As for what to do with the town’s old street signs, a charity auction of some kind is under discussion at Essex Town Hall. .

Share

AAUW Offers Education Grants to Area Women

AREAWIDE – The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) is offering a $2000 grant to women who are pursuing undergraduate education. Successful applicants will be awarded $1000 upon registration for the fall semester and $1000 upon successful academic performance and registration for the spring semester.  Recipients will be chosen on the basis of personal goals, academic performance and financial need.

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, be pursuing an associate or bachelor degree from an accredited college or university, and reside in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook or Westbrook.

Applications must be postmarked by May 30. Grants will be announced by July 1.

The American Association of University Women is a national organization whose mission, since its founding in 1881, is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

For information or an application, contact Carolyn Cohen at 860-526-8209 or lcvaauw@gmail.com.

 

Share

A la Carte: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp. King Arthur Flour photo

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp. King Arthur Flour photo

I love social media, but before I tell you why I do, here is what I do not love. I never, ever have a meal, at my house, someone else’s house or in a restaurant with my cell phone next to my plate. If I forget to turn my phone off at a movie, I turn it off as soon as the note on the screen asks. If I am in a meeting and forget to turn it off and someone calls me, I turn it off without looking to see who called. I don’t text. My friends know that. As soon as someone tells me why I should text, I listen to their reasons. No one has yet convinced me.

Here is what I love: I have met friends from high school, many decades ago, and I am thrilled we are “friends” again. I love seeing what cookbook authors, chefs and teachers are up to. I love the fact that I can order tickets, books and gift certificates for myself, my friends and my children and grandchildren. Yesterday I bought four sets of tickets for the UConn women’s basketball games at Gampel. When the brackets were set, UConn e-mailed me the tickets. I print them.

I also love that I can “meet” friends I have never met. Seven years ago, I wrote about the fact that my husband had died. Sybil Nassau had just lost her husband and we e-mailed back and forth for years. A few weeks ago, we met at the Shoreline Diner in Guilford. She reads my columns; I e-mail her when I know about gluten-free menus, recipes and new products. She herself is gluten-intolerant (though she does not have celiac disease). I am not. She is branch manager of GIG, Gluten-Intolerance Group. Her daughter writes the newsletter. She gave me a copy in which there are a dozen recipes. So many supermarkets have shelves and shelves of gluten-free products. Even the King Arthur catalog has pages and pages of gluten-free products (kingarthurflour.com). This recipe looks great.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 pinch nutmeg
½ cup almond flour
1/2 cup certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a pie dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together apples, sugar, water, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg until well combined. Set aside.

Make the oatmeal topping*: In a bowl, gently combine almond flour, oats, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and butter until crumbly.

Place apple mixture in the dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until apples are cooked through, juices are bubbling and topping is browned. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

*You can quadruple or even more, then save the topping in little plastic and freeze for more crisps you might make.


Nibbles: Tiano Smokehouse

On a recent Sunday morning, before I had to drive to Middletown to judge chocolate at Chocolate to the Rescue, a fundraiser for Columbus House, I read a review in the New York Times. Tiano Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant in Middletown, got a rave from Rand Richards Cooper. As Joan Gordon and I drove to Middletown, we talked about stopping at Tiano to get some ‘cue. (Joan is the only friend I have who would, for sure, go to a restaurant right after we judge chocolate.)

What a find this place is. We took lots of food for takeout. I ordered a pulled pork dinner—half a pound of pork so perfect that I never added barbecue sauce on it, creamy mac and cheese (they also have one they called macaroni Alfredo), creamed spinach and a luscious piece of cornbread.  I figured I would eat half that night and the rest the following night. Ate it all in one sitting.

Tiano Smokehouse, 482 South Main Street, Middletown, 860-358-9828

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 

 

Share

New Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Rabbi Marci Bellows

CHESTER – Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester has announced that Rabbi Marci Bellows will take over religious leadership of the synagogue on July 1, 2016. Members voted unanimously to ratify the decision on Thursday evening, March 17.

“Rabbi Bellows will bring song, courage, excitement and wisdom to our community,” said Congregation President Stephen Davis. “We are delighted to welcome another great leader to follow Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg.”

Rabbi Goldenberg has successfully led the congregation for the past nine years. She will be establishing a new congregation in the New York metropolitan area focused on innovative styles of worship to involve young, unaffiliated Jews.

“As I begin a new chapter in my rabbinate, and as our family moves to a new community, I’m filled with gratitude for the time we have had here in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley,” Rabbi Goldenberg said. “Our time at CBSRZ has been filled with meaningful moments of learning, celebration and connections. And we have treasured the small town experience, living in Deep River and sending our kids to Deep River Elementary School. We will miss the wonderful people we’ve met, and hope to stay in touch. We won’t be too far!”

Rabbi Bellows has been for seven years the spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Torah in Wantagh, New York, a synagogue with some 400 families. Prior to that, she was an assistant rabbi and director of Adult Programs at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York. Beyond her synagogue responsibilities, she has written for New York Jewish Week and for the Union for Reform Judaism’s 10 Minutes of Torah and has been a faculty member at URJ’s Crane Lake Camp and a participant in various URJ programs. Rabbi Bellows’ mother was cantorial soloist for 27 years at the family’s synagogue in Skokie, Illinois, where Rabbi Bellows grew up. Rabbi Bellows is a graduate of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

“It is truly an honor and pleasure to be selected as the next rabbi at CBSRZ. The congregation, known for its warmth, wisdom, and wide variety of programming, is beautiful inside and out. I look forward to being part of its distinguished legacy and impact on the area,” Rabbi Bellows said.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek—Hebrew for ‘House of Peace, Pursuers of Justice’—last year marked its one hundredth birthday. Congregants come from 36 towns, from Hartford to Westbrook, Norwich to New Haven. Its sanctuary, situated near the Connecticut River, is renowned in the international art world as the only public building ever designed by 20th-century master artist Sol LeWitt. It was the subject of a film called “We Built This House.” Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is a home for both traditional ritual and pioneering spirituality, earning it the tagline “ancient and cool. ”It also regularly hosts music and learning programs open to the community. More information may be found on the new website www.cbsrz.org.

Share

Republican Robert Siegrist Announces Second Run for 36th House District Seat

Flanked by Devin Carney (R-24th) to his left and Senator Art Linares (R- 33rd) to his right, Bob Siegrist announces his intention to run for the 30th District seat in November.

Flanked by State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) to his left and State Senator Art Linares (R- 33rd) to his right, Republican Bob Siegrist (center) announced his intention to run for the 36th House District seat in November.  Photo used with permission of Rep. D. Carney.

AREAWIDE — Republican Robert Siegrist of Haddam  formally announced a second run for the 36th House District seat Monday, setting up a likely November rematch with incumbent Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex.

About 70 supporters from the district towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam filled two rooms at the Brush Mill Restaurant in Chester to cheer Seigrist’s declaration of candidacy. The restaurant off Rte. 148 is where Seigrist had worked as a bartender before becoming a candidate in 2014. Siegrist, who entered the 2014 race in June after the withdrawal of a candidate nominated by Republicans at the May convention, lost to Miller on a 5,522 – 4,701 vote.

Siegrist, 32, carried his hometown of Haddam by about 300 votes, while losing to Miller in Chester, Deep River and Essex. Miller served four terms as first selectman of Essex before winning the seat in a February 2011 special election. Miller was elected to a full term in 2012 over Essex Republican Vincent Pacileo.

There were indications Republicans have targeted the 36th District seat, as several area Republican legislators, along with former legislators and municipal elected officials, turned out Monday to pledge active support for Siegrist’s campaign. On hand were 33rd District State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook, and representatives Melissa Ziobron of the 34th District (East Haddam-East Hampton), Devin Carney of the 23rd District (Old Saybrook-Old Lyme), and Jesse MacLachan of the 35th District (Clinton-Killingworth and Westbrook). Carney and MacLachlan were elected in 2014, with MacLachan unseating an incumbent Democratic legislator, Tom Vicino of Clinton.

Ziobron said she would campaign door-to-door with Siegrist to help elect “another partner at the capitol”, while Carney described Miller as “one of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives.” Siegrist said Connecticut is “at a crossroads,” adding, “We desperately need a representative, a leader that listens, truly listens. to this district and votes for their concerns, issues, and pocketbooks.” Siegrist said he is ready to “knock on every door” in the four -town district to end “one party rule in Hartford.”

Siegrist, who formed a candidate committee last month and is participating in the Citizens Elections Program for most of his campaign funding, said he is currently working for a Haddam landscaping business, In Full Bloom LLC. Siegrist, a member of the Haddam Republican Town Committee, said he was active in last fall’s municipal election in Haddam, where Republican Liz Milardo unseated former Democratic First Selectwoman Melissa Schlag by a close 25-vote margin. Milardo was on hand Monday to stand with Siegrist.

Miller has not yet formed a candidate committee or declared as a candidate, but he is expected to seek a third full term this year. State House and Senate candidates for the Nov. 8 election will be formally nominated at district conventions in May.

Share

Beer, Music, History and Pizza at CT River Museum

CTRiverMuseum.BeerHistoryImage

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum will host “A Glass of Beer History” on Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

This multimedia program will feature the sights, sounds and tastes of 6,000 years of brewing history. Presented by the Museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs and folk musician Rick Spencer, the program will explore the origins of beer, its growth as a popular beverage, and its evolving place in American society. From ancient civilizations to the modern microbrew craze of today, tastings will reflect beer’s evolution.

Five beers will be tasted throughout the night. These include a barleywine, which Dobbs notes is “considered to be the world’s first beer.” Other beers being tasted are a German-American lager, a classic English-style porter, an India Pale Ale (IPA) and a featured local beer.

Steady Habit Brewing Company will be featured as one of Connecticut River Valley’s newest microbreweries. Based out of Haddam, owner and brewmaster Jon Peterson will join Dobbs and Spencer during the tasting with one of his handcrafted beers.

In addition to the tastings and history, Spencer will join Dobbs with rousing drinking songs that support the program’s themes. They will be accompanied by signer Dawn Indermuehle. Spencer, an accomplished folk musician, said that “these songs do more than just support the night’s themes; they expand the audience’s understanding and dive into the social customs and concerns around drink.” Both Dobbs and Spencer noted that you cannot just reflect on beer’s history without also discussing temperance and vice.

Deep River’s Pizzeria DaVinci is donating food that will complement the assorted beers. Dobbs stated that this is the “perfect way to enjoy a beer tasting. Pizzeria DaVinci is known in the area for their high quality New Haven style pizza and wonderful breads and desserts.”

The event is open to the public; however, reservations are required due to limited space. Participants must be 21 or over and show valid ID at the door. Tickets include the program with beer and food tastings. Prices are $10 for Museum members and $16 for the general public.

For more information and to register, visit CTRiverMuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

 

Share

Centerbrook Architects Lecture Features Hugh Ferriss and Lee Lawrie

Hugh Ferriss's rendering of an imaginary city

Hugh Ferriss’s rendering of an imaginary city

ESSEX – Both Hugh Ferriss and Lee Lawrie had an enormous effect upon architectural philosophical thinking and ultimate execution in the early part of the 20th century in America.

Hugh Ferriss became famous for his dark, brooding charcoal renderings of zoning studies for skyscrapers in New York. Lee Lawrie distinguished himself as being the lead designer and lead sculptor for most of the architectural sculptures at Rockefeller Center, as well as work at Yale University on the Sterling Library, the State Capitol of Nebraska, the City & County of Los Angeles Library, and more. He was perhaps most known for his collaboration with the architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue on many of his firms’ projects.

Learn more about these two influential designers in an illustrated talk by architectural historian Dr. Chuck Benson on Friday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.

Dr. Benson has been teaching Art and Architectural History for more than 25 years at various universities and has led groups to explore iconic places and buildings in America, Italy, England, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and elsewhere. His lecture credits include MOMA, Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He studied the history of art and architecture at Yale, and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University. He also has studied at Cambridge and Oxford.

This Essex Library program is free and open to the public. The Essex Town Hall is located at 29 West Avenue in Essex. Please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register.

Share

Local Essex Realtor’s 2015 Sales Total $24.8 Million

Award-winning Essex realtor Colette Harron stands outside the Sotheby's International office on Main Street in Essex.

Award-winning Essex realtor Colette Harron stands outside the Sotheby’s International office on Main Street in Essex.

ESSEX — Essex resident Colette Harron of Sotheby’s International Realty sold an unprecedented $24.8 million of real estate in the 2015 calendar year.  This record-breaking amount not only placed Harron in the “Top 15 Company Wide Dollar Volume” in sales among Sotheby’s 1,500 realtors but also put in the “Top Producer’s Dollar Volume” in the Sotheby’s sales office in Essex.

The properties that Harron sold last year were located in the towns of Essex, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Deep River and Chester. As for the keys to her success, Harron said in a recent interview, “I work very hard, and even more importantly I always make myself available for my clients.” She also noted, “I know the area very well.”

In addition, Harron has Joanne Tyrol as a full time assistant, who Harron described as, “Just Perfect.”

Harron also noted, “I’m well established in the community, and have been doing this work for the last 15 years,” adding, “I’m always working, and I am always available.” In addition to English, Harron is also in fluent in Spanish and French.  Another secret of her exceptional performance is, in Harron’s words, “I try not to remember the bad times, and just remember the good.” She concluded, “It is a tough business, and the challenges are high,” … but there is no question that she has made the very best of both.

Share

Talking Transportation: Is Uber Really a Bargain?

In the almost two years since Uber rolled into Connecticut, the state’s car/taxi service business has been rocked to its core.  But is Uber competing on the same level as taxis and car service companies?  Of course not, which is why it’s so successful.

I spoke with Uber’s Connecticut Manager Matt Powers and Drivers Unlimited (a Darien car & limo company) owner Randy Klein to try to get an objective comparison of the services.  (Full disclosure:  I have been a customer of both firms.)

While Uber does offer a “black car” (premium) service, my comparisons are with their more popular Uber X service … private cars driven by non-chauffeurs, 7,000 of whom have signed up as drivers in CT, according to Powers.

VEHICLES:  Car services opt for Lincoln Town Cars and SUV’s.  Uber X just requires drivers have a 4-door car, less than 10 years old with a trunk big enough to carry a wheelchair.

MAINTENANCE:  Klein owns and maintains his own fleet, inspecting all cars weekly.  Uber relies on its X drivers to do upkeep.

DRIVER SCREENING:  Klein does his own background checks on top of the DMV screening required for a CDL (commercial drivers license).  Uber says it does “rigorous” screening of drivers, including terrorist watch lists, but requires only a regular driver’s license.  Klein’s firm also does random drug testing of his drivers.

INSURANCE:  Klein has coverage of up to $1.5 million for every driver.  Uber relies on the individual driver’s personal insurance but layers a $1 million policy on top when they are driving Uber customers.

RATINGS:  Uber asks drivers and passengers to rate each other after every trip.  Klein asks passengers to rate drivers but says it’s unfair to allow drivers to rate customers. “We’re in a service business,” he says.

BOOKING:  Klein says most of his reservations are made two to three weeks in advance.  Uber doesn’t do advance bookings, though, in personal experience, I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a car.

FARES:  Though not an apples-to-apples comparison, an average car service ride from Darien to LaGuardia Airport is anywhere from $130 – $180, one-way.  Uber’s quote for an X car is about $75.

SURGE PRICING:  When demand is highest, Uber adds a surcharge to fare quotes, sometimes doubling the fare.  Klein says his rates are the same 24 x 7.

IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS:  Klein says his office can be reached anytime by phone, toll-free.  Uber’s website offers a template to file complaints online.

So, is Uber really a bargain?  Let me answer with a hotel analogy.  Sometimes I love staying at the Ritz Carlton with its plush rooms and fabulous service.  Other times, a Motel 6 or LaQuinta is fine, though there’s always the risk of a “surprise”.

I see car services the same way.  With a plush Lincoln SUV and chauffeur you get what you pay for.  But sometimes all you want is to get from home to the airport and an Uber X is just fine … and a lot cheaper!

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

Editor’s Note: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.

You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

Share

Enjoy a Fish Fry Dinner at St. Joseph Parish Center, March 18

fish fry night
CHESTER —
It may have been a bone-chilling evening, but St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chester kicked off its Lenten Season on Friday, Feb. 12, with a good catch at the Third Annual Fish Fry.  Despite having to bundle up against the cold, people came out in a steady stream, proving once again what a great faith/fundraising event it is for the church community.  Salmon was swimming out of the kitchen and onto the plates all evening.  Fish & Chips, Clam Chowder and Macaroni & Cheese were also available, not to mention a wide variety of baked goods for dessert.

The Fish Fry will continue every Friday through March 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the parish hall at 48 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 154) in Chester.

The menu includes: $12 for Fish & Chips, Fried Shrimp or Fried Clam Strips with Fries and Wild Caught Salmon over rice; $5 for children 12 & under Macaroni & Cheese and French Fry Dinner. Also available are Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder Soups ($5) and Mixed Green Dinner Salad ($6).  All meals include bread & butter, drinks and dessert.   Meals are also available for take-out.

Come see for yourself what makes St. Joseph’s a thriving, active, and growing community.  The food is great, the conversation is flowing, the staff enthusiasm is wonderful and you don’t have to cook or clean.  We invite you all to visit.

After all, it’s a great way to treat yourself to a great dinner!

Share

Stand-up Comedy, Acrobatics, Live Music at 7th Annual Karmic Relief, March 19

sanctuary 1AREAWIDE – The Sanctuary’s 7th Annual Karmic Relief fast approaches on Saturday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. Focusing on the light-hearted side of the Spiritual Path, this event features stand-up comedy, circus acrobatics performance, live music and dancing, plus superfoods, silent auction and, of course, a great community of people.

A silent auction begins the evening at 6 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by SporadiComedy, with four NYC-based comedians, Katie Boyle, Cathy Humes, Kat Burdick, and Rebecca Rush, bringing edgy, uplifting energy from the city.

The OMFLY CircusYoga Troupe, the Sanctuary’s indigenous social circus, will bring antics, partnership and the joy of flight starting at 8 p.m. At 8:30, The Grays, with special guests Christian George and DJ MayoNoize, will play Live Tribal Jazz Dance Music.

Healthy comfort foods (“organic, local, super energy and amazing delicious”) will be provided by Kale Yums.

Tickets are $20 in advance (may be purchased online) and $25 at the door. Kids 13 and under are $5. All proceeds will support The Sanctuary, a non-profit community organization, located in East Haddam. More information about Karmic Relief is at OurSanctuary.org.

The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty St., Chester.

Editor’s note: The Community of the Sanctuary at Shepardfields is located in and around a 40-acre land preserve in East Haddam. Its mission is to hold sacred space for personal transformation, healing, enlightenment, intentional community and environmental stewardship. This community is organized and served by Shepardfields, Inc., a spiritual life center and 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

 

Share